If you weren't afraid...

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"What if you knew everything could work out, would you do something different with your life?" I've been asked this question before, and maybe you have too... Every so often I come across it in a book or I see it on Pinterest. And unfortunately, a lot of the time my answer to it makes me realize how far away I am from being who I want to be and doing what I want to do. If I had no fear, maybe I wouldn’t rush into a new job after quitting an old one; maybe I’d travel more; maybe I’d see my loved ones more rather than put them off for work; maybe I’d stop caring what people thought about me and start pursuing the things I love to do... the list goes on. 

But my fears say all sorts of things to me, some of them rooted in truth, and some of them downright outrageous. Here are some examples of the kinds of things my head comes up with: “but how will you be able to afford that?” ...  “What will people think?” ... “What will people say?” ... “What if you fail?” ... “What if you let people down?” ... “What if you make a fool of yourself?” Etc etc… All of those "what ifs" are what make me stop in my tracks. No matter how badly I may want to pursue something, those words seem to creep into my head. Safety and security seem to trump happiness almost always…. What are your "what ifs"?

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Maybe the solution to the "what ifs" isn't to convince ourselves that everything will work out great... Maybe the solution lies in becoming okay with whatever result comes... Becoming at home with the possibility that we might just make a mistake; maybe someone will laugh at us; and we might just make a fool of ourselves at some point. The thing is, we can't sit around waiting for certainty... There will NEVER be a time when you feel completely and 100% ready to make a big change. Usually, when it comes to living the life you want, you need to take risks and let go of the familiar, let go of security. Otherwise, you'll keep saying goodbye to your dreams. 

 

My trip to China this year was a fear-facing endeavour for me in a number of ways... First of all, I have a deathly peanut allergy so I was terrified to eat in China. Secondly, I was so so afraid of financial insecurity (would I be able to afford it? Would I be able to find a summer job when I got back?) I thought to myself a couple times, "maybe I should just wait until I'm not a student so I can be more financially secure." 

In the end, I decided not to let those fears stop me. I'm not advocating for being irresponsible with money of course! I had enough for a two week trip... I just had a ton of fear about what I would do for work when I got back and how I would make ends meet... But that's all it was: it was fear and nothing else. And yes, the peanut allergy proved to be quite scary almost the whole time, as no one really spoke any english and no one could assure me that there were no traces of peanuts. But I took the risk anyway, and I am so beyond grateful that I did. If I would have given into my "what ifs", I would have missed out on some AMAZING experiences with my best friend... 

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